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Logging increases fire risk — rural and regional towns

greater-glider--logging-habitat-may2020

LOGGED FORESTS, including near regional and rural settlements, are at increased risk of severe fire.  Research at the Australian National University (ANU) examined damaged vegetation from the 2019–2020 bushfires and concluded that young, uniform, regrowth forests were heavily impacted by fire.

ABOVE: The Greater Glider (photo attributed to Hans and Judy Beste), sourced from
the Halt the Extinction of the Greater Glider change.org petition.

ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society professor David Lindenmayer said while weather had a large effect on the fire events, “forests also burned at very high severity when they were between 10 to 40 years old.

“Young forests regenerating after logging were particularly susceptible to very high severity fire,” he said. Lindenmayer co-authored a report in Ecosphere with colleague Chris Taylor.

“Young forests regenerating after logging were particularly
susceptible to very high severity fire.”

Risk to settlements

“Our findings show there should be no logging near rural towns and other communities.

“At a time when the risk of extreme fire weather has risen 10 times since the 1960s, we must do everything possible to keep country people safe. Reducing the flammability of forests is crucial.”

Dr David Taylor said the study’s results mirrored studies conducted after the 2009 Black Saturday fires, where logged forests were also found to be at a greater risk of high severity wildfire.

“More and more research, not only in Australia but also from around the world, is showing that young forests are very flammable,” Taylor said.

“I am extremely worried about how much young and highly flammable forest now occurs in much of Victoria and southern New South Wales.

“Much of this is a result of past fires and a long history of industrial logging.”

The full study published in Ecosphere.

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